Norbert Dawalibi


Norbert Dawalibi has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Blue Spark Technologies since 2011. Mr. Dawalibi brings over 45 years of experience in the technology industry having started his professional career with IBM in 1976. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of a number of private and publicly listed technology companies including Glasshouse Systems, Sirit Technologies and Psion Teklogix. Mr. Dawalibi held several executive leadership positions during his 24 years at IBM in the areas of sales, marketing, networking systems and software in both Canada and the US.

Mr. Dawalibi is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for Clairvoyant Technology. He is also an active investor and advisor in a number of early-stage technology companies. Mr. Dawalibi graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada with an Electrical Engineering degree.


John Gannon

President and CEO

John Gannon serves as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Blue Spark Technologies since 2011. Mr. Gannon brings with him a deep understanding of the technology industry, as well as the energy and drive that is leading Blue Spark Technologies into the commercialization of its innovative, patented products. John is also co-inventor of Blue Spark’s flagship medical device TempTraq®.

Mr. Gannon began his career as an engineer in the aerospace industry working for General Electric’s Astro-Space Division. Following his time at General Electric, he worked in the field of currency derivative trading working for Merrill Lynch in New York and Barclays Capital in London. He is a founder and general partner of venture firm SunBridge Partners. He has been the CEO of Blue Spark Technologies for over 10 years. Mr. Gannon obtained a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.


John DeFord, Ph.D.

John DeFord, Ph.D. is currently chairman, chief executive officer and president of Samothrace Medical Innovations. Dr. DeFord previously served as the executive vice president and chief technology officer for Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a global medical technology company, until his retirement in May 2021.

While at BD, Dr. DeFord also served as the senior vice president, research and development for the interventional segment from December 2017 to June 2018, following its acquisition of C.R. Bard where he had served as senior vice president, science, technology and clinical affairs since June 2007. Dr. DeFord joined Bard in 2004 and served in science and technology roles of increasing responsibility during that time. Prior to joining Bard, Dr. DeFord was managing director of Early Stage Partners, a venture capital fund. Prior to joining Early Stage Partners, Dr. DeFord was president and chief executive officer of Cook Incorporated, a privately held medical device manufacturer. He also serves on the board of directors of Nordson Corporation. Dr. DeFord graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in electrical/biomedical engineering.


James M. Petras

Since 1993, Mr. Petras has been President and a Managing Director of Capital One Partners LLC, a Cleveland-based private equity firm and Co-founder and Managing General Partner of the Early Stage Partners Funds. These various entities actively manage a portfolio of early stage companies representing in excess of 1100 million of investor capital commitments. Prior to forming Capital One, Mr. Petras formed a Cleveland-based private equity investment group funded by former Australian billionaire and media entrepreneur, Kerry Packer. Mr. Petras is a recipient of the 2006 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Northeast Ohio, a graduate of Oberlin College (A.B. 1974) and the University of Michigan (M.A. and M.B.A. 1978) and a retired member of the Ohio Society of CPAs, the AICPA as well as the Cleveland Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO Gold), and former Chairman of the Board and Director of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland. Mr. Petras also serves as an observer or voting board member of two (2) multi-generational family businesses as well as numerous early stage technology companies. These enterprises include Arisdyne Systems, Inc., Blue Spark Technologies, Inc., Easy2 Technologies (sold to, Histosonics Inc., Intelligent Clearing Network, Inc., OnShift Technologies, Inc., Ovation Polymer and Engineered Materials, Inc., Simbionix USA (sold to 3D Systems), and Terresolve Technologies, Ltd. (sold to RSC Biosolutions).


Cecilia A. Cruickshank

Cecilia Cruickshank is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a private investor to numerous startup companies working in sectors including clean technology, real estate, and network software. She sits on the board of directors of multiple companies and is highly engaged in the management of the others.

Ms. Cruickshank was drawn to investing in Blue Spark Technologies around 2010, when she learned about its safe, non-toxic, disposable product, which aligned with her passion to support environmentally responsible technologies. In Blue Spark she saw the potential to improve the standard of care in healthcare settings and accelerate biomedical research that seeks more effective therapeutics and solutions to persistent challenges in medicine. Previously, in 1996, Ms. Cruickshank founded Cruickshank Capital Management, which focused on serving high net-worth individuals, retirement plans and charitable foundations. She led CCM for 14 years before closing it down in 2010 in favor of shifting to a direct investment structure. Ms. Cruickshank graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Political Science. She circumnavigated the world with her husband and two sons for 7 years on their 50-foot sailboat.

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